AgroChatea: helping Peruvian farmers make better deals

Arvid Halma, World Food Programme & MINAGRI, Peru
Author: Arvid Halma, World Food Programme & MINAGRI, Peru

A 24-hour chatbot that answers food price queries.

For farmers, knowing the market value of your produce is crucial to your livelihood. What’s the right time and place to sell my products? What’s my crop worth today? In partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MINAGRI), Leiden University’s Centre for Innovation developed a chatbot designed to instantly answer real-time price queries in Peru: AgroChatea.

What is AgroChatea?

AgroChatea is an automated chatbot that provides up-to-date information on wholesale market prices 24 hours per day, using ChitChat technology. Combining this chatbot technology with the database of MINAGRI’s System of Supply and Prices (SISAP), AgroChatea can answer price queries on various agricultural products (including chicken, potatoes and flour) in the wholesale markets of Metropolitan Lima. 

How does it work?

Using this tool, smallholder farmers and local authorities in Peru can make better informed decisions about how to sell their products, in a user-friendly way. The chatbot was developed with accessibility in mind. It’s hosted on a “lightweight” website meaning that users with basic internet-enabled devices as well as smartphones can access the site even with a low-bandwidth connection.

What does this mean for Peruvian farmers?

Access to instant price information helps farmers set informed prices to make better decisions when selling their crops. This doesn’t just help individual farmers, but also lowers the transaction costs of the market which positively impacts economic efficiency.

What’s next for the chatbot?

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    First of all, we plan to optimise the chatbot based on the feedback the WFP will be getting from the communities using the application.

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    Moreover, we will ensure the successful application of the tool and subsequent scaling of the technology. This process often requires skills development within the organisation.

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    We will therefore make sure that the MINAGRI staff will be trained on using and extending the chatbot, in order to guarantee full ownership of the tools and to be able to act upon future needs directly.

Interested in finding out more? Our partner WFP wrote a blog about it.

Get in touch with the author

Arvid Halma
Data Analyst